The Port Gibson trial of T’Kia Bevily has been moved to Monroe County after a judge granted a change of venue.
In January, Bevily was found guilty of capital murder, after a five-day trial and was later sentenced to life without the possibility of parole. District Attorney Daniella M. Shorter chose not to seek the death penalty.
Later, the court learned that one of the jurors that convicted Bevily was related to the victim. According to court reports, jurors were questioned as to whether or not they knew the victim’s mother, DeDreuna Smith. Juror number 24 was later found to be Jurayah’s great uncle, but he did not disclose that information to the court.
Judge Irving ruled that even if the juror didn’t have prior knowledge of the relation, the child’s death would have made him aware. The judge further ruled that, “an appearance of personal interest, bias or prejudice in the prosecution of this case is presumed.” Bevily was granted a re-trial.
Bevily will go on trial starting on May 2 in Monroe County where residents of that area will sit on the new jury.
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